Clare Crawley Makes Stunning Confession During ‘Bachelorette’ Season 16 Premiere—& We Have So Many Questions

*Warning: Spoilers ahead*

Clare Crawley’s season of The Bachelorette premiered tonight on ABC, and while the 39-year-old star appears smitten by a contestant named Dale, we’re not entirely convinced that Crawley expected to like him.

The episode begins with Chris Harrison explaining that The Bachelorette is a wee bit different this year. Not only is it being filmed in La Quinta, California (instead of the Bachelor mansion), but it’s also following strict social distancing protocol.

After a brief recap of her journey on the franchise (including Juan Pablo Galavis’s season of The Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise), Crawley—and the contestants—enter quarantine until she’s cleared by a negative COVID-19 test result.

At long last, Crawley is ready for the limo arrivals. There’s an expected number of over-the-top entrances, like Jay (aka the guy who wore a strait jacket). Still, there’s one person who receives a skeptical amount of romantic overlay music: Dale.

bachelorette recap clare crawley
ABC/Craig Sjodin

When Dale steps out of the limo, Crawley’s voice raises by an octave. After he enters the mansion, she claims she “just met my husband.” As Chris Harrison points out, literally no Bachelorette has ever said those words during limo arrivals before. As expected, Dale receives the First Impression Rose. And all we have to say is…frontrunner.

That night, Crawley greets the men with a toast before embarking on her one-on-one conversations. The drama revolves around Tyler C., who claims Yosef isn’t here for the right reasons. Tyler accuses him of “being reckless on Instagram. Flirting with girls where I’m from.”

When Crawley gets involved, she accuses Yosef of having a girlfriend (he denies it). It’s really uncomfortable (and immature) for everyone involved.

At the rose ceremony, Crawley hands out roses to everyone but AJ, Chris, Jeremy, Jordan, Mike, Page, Robby, and Tyler C.

While the promo for next week’s episode teases more drama for Crawley, we can’t stop thinking about Dale…and here’s why.

bachelorette dale clare crawley
ABC/Craig Sjodin

In order to understand the importance of their relationship, we need to remind you that rumors claim Crawley is now engaged to Dale. So, while we expected them to hit it off right off the bat, we didn’t expect her to have such a candid reaction.

You see, we already know Crawley spoke to Dale via social media before production began. It’s not like she didn’t know who he was—and yet, she practically had a mental breakdown after their meet-cute.

“I definitely feel like I just met my husband,” she says. “I knew it. Oh, my god. I’m shaking.”

So, why does it matter? We won’t know until season 16 progresses, but her reaction might shed some light on why Crawley decides to leave the show. We’ve been wondering why Crawley went on The Bachelorette if she had already established feelings for Dale. However, if she didn’t expect to like him as much as she did when he stepped out of the limo, it would explain why she came anyway and why she eventually (and seemingly suddenly) departs the show to pursue their relationship.

After meeting the group of men, maybe Crawley feels confident in pursuing that connection alone. But…is it love at first sight? Guess we’ll have to wait for answers when The Bachelorette returns to ABC next Tuesday, October 20, at 8 p.m.

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Senior Editor

Greta Heggeness is a California-based editor at PureWow and has been writing about entertainment since 2015. She covers everything from awards shows to exclusive celebrity...